MANILA - Senator Leila De Lima has filed a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry into a P500-million community-based program against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality, which state auditors flagged for failing to yield accomplishments.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government's "Masa Masid" is supposed to mount information campaigns, create a reporting mechanism for drug-related activities, spearhead a community-based rehabilitation program, and empower anti-crime volunteers.
Masa Masid, however, failed to achieve its objectives in 2017 due to the slow implementation of activities, and the non-utilization and re-alignment of part of the funds, the Commission on Audit said in a recent annual audit report.
"In the midst of the administration’s controversial campaign against criminality and drugs, disbursement of funds for programs should be transparent and implementers accountable to dispel speculation on the lawfulness of public expenditures,” De Lima said in a statement.
"Transparency is the cornerstone of good governance and public offices have due responsibility to submit annual reports on their agency’s operations not only for compliance with their performance incentive requirements but more importantly to show that the people’s budget was judiciously and effectively utilized,” she added.
Some P88.69 in Masa Masid funds were realigned to the Philippine Public Safety College (PSPC) and the Local Government Academy, (LGA) state auditors said.
Another P10.5 million, meanwhile, was transferred to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), added COA.
COA questioned the absence of some audit requirements in the memorandum of agreement for the transfer of funds, De Lima said.
DILG ON DEFENSE
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there was nothing irregular in the transfer of funds to the 3 agencies, whose help his department needed.
The LGA, PSPC and PCOO are finalizing their terminal report and have been advised to revert their remaining balances to the DILG, he said.
Año said Masa Masid also exceeded its targets in strengthening Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs).
The program formulated 3 modules and trained 23,895 barangays, which is about a thousand more villages than its target, he said.
COA's report, he added, did not account for fund utilization and accomplishments in the last half of 2017.